14.01.2011 Regional News

Accra Mayor's vision - To make capital one of the finest cities in Africa

14.01.2011 LISTEN

January 14, 2011
Accra, Jan. 14, GNA - The Mayor of Accra, Mr Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, has said his dream is to make Accra one of the finest cities in Africa.

He said although the challenges of the Metropolis were enormous, he would confront them rather than allow them to kill the dream he envisaged.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Friday on his vision for 2011, the Mayor said in line with President John Evans Atta Mills' declaration of 2011 as a "Year of Action", the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) was also poised to achieve targets it had set for itself.

He said the AMA would not renege on its promise of bringing development to the doorsteps of the people and "make them live in it and love it."

"The AMA will this year build on what it has already started and will want to see concrete proof of the 'Better Ghana' agenda and ensure that we bring it to realization," he said.

Mr Vanderpuije announced that before the month ended, there would be a meeting in Accra to review all the recommendations made for the execution of the Millennium City Project and a follow-up meeting at the Earth Institute in Columbia, USA, in March.

The Millennium City Initiative is a project being undertaken by the Earth Institute, a research and education centre at the Columbia University, USA, to assist 11 selected sub-Saharan cities to design effective viable strategies to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In September, he said, a special forum would be held in New York on the City of Accra to which renowned investors would be invited to discuss issues on sanitation, water, roads and electricity with the goal of transforming the capital into a modern city.

The Earth Institute had set aside 1.5 million dollars for the investment forum, he added.

The Mayor said it was his expectation that 14 millennium schools would have been completed by the end of this year.

Under the initiative, a research team from the Earth Institute would also inspect hospitals and clinics and review conditions of services delivered to their clients and recommend innovative strategies to improve such conditions to the public.

On sanitation, Mr Vanderpuije said the AMA would continue to register households and ensure that they all had bins for effective rubbish collection and also make certain that all houses, both private and public, had toilets by September to arrest the unsanitary conditions in Accra.

The year, he said, would see the upgrading and construction of new roads that had been identified.

Asked if financial constraints could not hinder the projects, he said a financial package that had been put together would be put before Parliament in February for the construction of the roads in the Metropolis.

To improve transportation and traffic congestion, Mayor Vanderpuije noted that the actual implementation of the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system would be done this year and the contract would be awarded soon.

Under the project, existing roads would be expanded and new ones constructed from Kasoa through Odokor, Kaneshie and Graphic Road to the Ministries.

"Strict measures would be put in place to ensure that the lanes are dedicated only to BRT buses so that the purpose is not defeated."

Furthermore, a team from China is in Ghana to conduct feasibility studies for the transformation of all street and traffic lights in Accra for the establishment of a traffic management control unit in the Metropolis to ensure that they work effectively and brighten the city at night.

According to the Mayor, the need for private involvement to upgrade markets with modern facilities was still on course.

"The idea is to bring on board public involvement, and open the gap for private investment and partnership."

He said the renovations and rehabilitations were being supported by the Social Investment Fund, adding that the decongestion of the city would continue to maintain the pavement for pedestrians. He said illegal structures in the city and on waterways would be demolished.

Community upgrading is also on the Mayor's calendar as he told the GNA that areas earmarked for the year would be rid of illegal structures on roads and alleys to make way for water hydrants and also make the communities more accessible to vehicles.

The areas are Mataheko, Darkuman, Odorkor, Kaneshie, Bubuashie, Sukura, La and Osu.

Asked which of the projects was dearest to his heart he answered, "As Mayor all that I have said have equal importance and I cannot single out one. We will work towards achieving them all."

He challenged the media to support the efforts of the AMA in its task of promoting the Millennium City Project and hold the AMA to account, but added that credit should also be given where it was due.